By Paul Borja
Published on September 3, 2006 - Bohol Standard
In his book “The Truth About Coconut Oil: The Drugstore in a Bottle,” Dr. Conrado S. Dayrit explains that attacks by American food oil industry against coconut oil are based on a number of claims, all of which have been proven false by scientific and medical researches. Among these claims: coconut oil is rich in cholesterol (truth: it has no cholesterol); coco oil is like animal fats – saturated (truth: both are indeed saturated but unlike animal fats, which have long chain fatty acids (LCFA), coco oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), which actually possess important nutritional and medical applications); coco oil increases cholesterol levels and causes heart disease (truth: people who consume large amounts of coco oil, such as Polynesians, Sri Lankans, Indians, and Bicolanos, have generally low levels of cholesterol and rarely develop heart diseases); and, polyunsaturated fats, e.g., soya and corn oil, are the safest and the best (truth: polyunsaturated oils are the sources of inflammatory prostaglandins, allergic leukotrienes, and blood clot inducing thrombaxane, among other unhealthy compounds).
In short, enemies of coco oil have relied on falsehoods to try to destroy an industry that has provided food, livelihood and other necessities to millions of people in the Philippines and across the world for generations. Although it is strictly speaking not a tree, the coconut is often termed “the tree of life,” for its many wonderful uses, from the roots to the trunk, and from the nuts to the leaves. One can’t find a more useful “tree” than the coconut.
At home, we have tried VCO, with very good results, on a number of ailments and conditions such as coughs and colds, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, canker sores, mosquito bites, among others. Applied on the face, VCO relaxes and soothes the facial muscles with its warming effect while improving skin tone. Daily doses of VCO are a good health maintainer and food supplement as well.
Dr. Dayrit has listed down many beneficial effects and good qualities of VCO: it provides energy quickly and for many hours; it does not cause and instead reduces obesity; it improves digestion and nutrient absorption as well as regulates bowel movement; it kills certain viruses, bacteria and fungi; it boosts immunity to cancer; it is anti-inflammatory in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases; it is effective against skin diseases when locally applied; it moisturizes the skin and relieves itching and chafing; and it is resistant to oxidation and has the longest shelf life of all oils.
The secret behind VCOs curative powers is the MCFA, which is easily digested and absorbed by the body and more quickly metabolized into energy compared to the LCFA. Dr. Dayrit has called coconut oil a functional food for aside from providing energy, nutrition and health, it can prevent infections, boosts immunity, reverse disease states and cure many types of illnesses. But because coconut oil can effect so many cures, Dayrit thinks that the name “drugstore in a bottle” is most apt.
In his book, Dr. Dayrit cites many cases of cures brought about by VCO but he thinks that more instances of successful treatment of different ailments using VCO are waiting to be documented and reported. Indeed, from history and tradition, the coconut has been so much part of the life of our ancestors and forebears. However, our desire to adopt to so-called “modern” ways of life have pulled us far from our roots that we have almost forgotten the coconut’s essential role in our culture and economy over generations. As the story of coconut oil’s “death and resurrection” suggests, sometimes the more things change, the more they remain the same.